Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
He’s not exactly an American Founding Father--John Quincy Adams is actually the son of a Founding Father so he’s more like a Founding Son--but he’s become one of my favorite Revolutionary era personalities and I so enjoyed spending time with him in the pages of this book that I was a little heartbroken when I came to its end. Being the oldest son of John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy was raised to embrace the Puritan work ethic and absorb a strict moral compass that dictated self-improvement, good works, and public service, but unlike his parents he spent many of his formative years living, traveling, working, and studying in Europe so there’s a Continental enhancement to John Quincy’s personal outlook, political understandings, cultural appreciations, and love life. His wife Louisa was the only European born First Lady.
John Quincy’s European adventures are thoroughly covered in this book which focuses on the first half of his life. His extended trips abroad were during that turbulent but highly interesting time surrounding the French revolution, stretching from Louis XVI through Napoleon and beyond, and John Quincy got to meet and sometimes know well many of the era’s leading figures. As a young teenager John Quincy acted as secretary and translator for his father and other American government officials in countries that included France, England, Russia, and what became Germany, and later as a young man he himself had several diplomatic postings around Europe.
Well researched and written with clear-eyed sympathy and appreciation, The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams brings readers into the heart and mind of John Quincy before he became President. While John Quincy was born and bred an American patriot and eventually attended Harvard like his father, having the chance to enjoy and compare the arts, cultures, cities, governments, and landscapes of Europe gave him a broad political education that could not be duplicated in any classroom. Even just as a history of its time this book is fascinating, and I especially enjoyed the personal glimpses of rulers John Quincy became close to, like Alexander I of Russia and young King William III of Prussia and his family.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing. Review opinions are mine.